As a college soccer coach, I am frequently asked about highlight videos. Parents and players want to make a “good one” but often don't know where to begin. This post will tell you how to create an excellent highlight video that will increase your chance of getting recruited to your dream school. First, at all levels of college soccer, video is an essential tool in the recruitment process. The choice of content you put in the video communicates:
How You View Your Skills as a Player: Most American youth players lack the technical skill and tactical understanding of the modern soccer game, when compared to their European and South American counterparts. This has led to a premium on highly technical players, with the majority of schools prioritizing physical abilities over “soccer skills”. For you as a player, your video should profile both, prioritizing whichever are strongest. Profile yourself through 10-15 second clips where one might see you win a 50/50 ball (physical), dribbling forward to complete a pass and receive the ball facing goal (technical), or, ideally, sprinting past a wide defender to serve a devastating cross (physical and technical).
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Your Awareness of Your Level of Play Relative to Your Peers: Think of the best player you know at your age, including players you have played against or might have seen at tournaments. How do you compare to them? Now, take that assessment and use it to prioritize the content you put in your video, showing what is as good or better than other potential recruits. Profile yourself by selecting clips that separate you from the pack.
Your Understanding of Each School’s System and How You Fit In: You should attend college games at different levels, sitting close to the field to notice the physicality and speed of play. By going to several games, your goal is to understand the level you should be aiming for during your recruitment, and how you might “fit in”. Profile yourself by choosing clips that are similar to how your dream school currently plays.
To create a video to communicate your skills, status relative to peers, and understanding that you are reaching out to your dream school (profiled above), there are six elements your video must include:
Clearly Formatted Personal and Contact Information:
At a minimum, include name, grad year, GPA, test scores, club(s), position(s), height,
coach contact, parent contact, your contact, and next major tournament you will
attend. Put this information at the beginning and end of your video as a graphic on the
screen. Graphic features are available in common video editing software like iMovie.
Lead With Your Best Content: After your personal and contact information, lead with your best clips reflecting a, b, c (above). Keep the total length under two minutes using 10-15 second clips, which begin after your personal and contact information is on the screen for the first 10 seconds.
Clear Content Areas: Use the same graphic feature as in (1) to divvy up sections so coaches know what to look for. As discussed, the sections should be tailored to your skills and the team you are reaching out to.
An Easy Way to Find You in the Clip: Spotlight yourself through video editing features like arrows or shading. Simply writing “I am number 10” leaves a lot to chance and makes your video hard to watch.
Good Video Angle, Higher the Better: Each year, these video angles are easier to acquire with new technology and club investment. The low-tech method is a steady tripod on top of a ladder.
An Answer to “what is next?”: Wrap the video up with your personal and contact information, and an expectation of when you will reach out with new information or follow up if you do not hear back.
Goalkeepers: Follow the advice above but choose training video to make up the majority, but not exclusive, content. Field player training video: For field players, training video can show specific skills but should be a minority of your total video.
Following up: You have set the expectation at the end of your video with when and how you will follow up as well as upcoming tournaments coaches might see you at. Now follow through, making sure to email asking: if the coach has gotten a chance to watch your video; for camp information; and, sharing upcoming games/tournaments. Follow up two days after sending your video with an email and phone call regardless if you hear back or not. Keep in touch with programs that show interest in you every two weeks.
Written By: John Roman
Goalkeeper Coach, University of Florida Women's Soccer